Why Are Great Danes So Big & How Tall Can Giant Ones Get

Great Danes are big, clumsy, and lovely dogs. You love to stay around them, even when they knock everything around them (unintentionally, of course). And when you observe them for a long time, it is impossible not to ask the question: why are Great Danes so big? How tall can the giant ones get? 

Why Are Great Danes So Big?

Why Great Danes So Big

Everyone loves Great Danes, but how come these dogs are so big? The answer is that these dogs were bred to become this big.

European nobles started importing tall, robust canines from England in the sixteenth century, derived from English Mastiffs and Irish Wolfhounds.

In the 17th century, the same two breeds were bred together in German courts, resulting in a variety of names for the resultant dogs: Englische Docke, Englische Dogge, and Englischer Hund, among others. 

The further debate over the breed’s name continued, and the breed was briefly referred to as Deutsche Dogge (German Mastiff) or German Boarhound.

Finally, the term ‘Great Dane’ gained widespread acceptance, referring to the ‘grand danois’ mentioned by George-Louis Leclerc in his 1755 natural history book.

Great Danes inherited their size and strength from Mastiff forebears (as did many other bully breeds), but their long legs and enormous height came from Irish Wolfhound predecessors.

According to some reports, Great Danes may also have some Greyhound heritage, which contributes to their speed and agility, and this breed is very athletic, despite their reputation for being a little clumsy.

Great Danes Were Bred For Hunting

Regardless of the controversies surrounding the term, Great Danes were purposefully developed to be enormous and robust in order to hunt large creatures such as deer, boar, and even bears. 

Other kinds of dogs were likely employed to locate and track the huge game, and then the Great Danes would step in and grab the animal, keeping it in place until the hunter could catch up and slay it.

Naturally, when it came to tussling with a wild boar, larger canines had a height and weight advantage over smaller dogs.

The court lords would then bring their favorite Great Danes into their bedchambers at night to protect them from would-be assassins.

However, with the invention of firearms, dogs were no longer required for hunting, and many Great Danes were repurposed as security dogs or simply as lovable companion animals.

Great Danes Compared To Humans

If you’ve ever seen one of these huge dogs in person, you already know how huge these dogs are, but drawing some comparisons helps get a better perspective.

A Great Dane standing on its hind legs may easily reach 7 feet in height, which is a full half-foot higher than Michael Jordan. Even with all four legs firmly on the ground, there is no disputing that the Great Dane is gigantic.

With a shoulder height of 34 inches, the typical Great Dane should stand level with the top of your thigh or hip. When combined with their ears and head, which can reach a height of 43 inches, a Great Dane may just be on the same page as a regular 7-year-old!

At their heaviest, Great Danes weigh just a few pounds more than the typical adult in the United States, despite the fact that they outweigh the majority of people.

Roughly ten 6-year-olds would be required to equal the weight of a super-sized Great Dane. That is practically an entire kindergarten class!

How Tall Can Great Danes Get?

An adult female Great Dane will typically stand 28-33 inches in height and weigh between 100 and 140 pounds, while an adult male Dane would reach 30-36 inches tall and weigh between 140 and 200 pounds.

Great Danes have an accelerated development spurt throughout the first year or so of their life; they are born weighing just 1-2 pounds and often attain their full height and weight by the age of 12-18 months and two years.

This makes them one of the world’s largest breeds, especially when compared to other colossal creatures such as Mastiffs, St. Bernards, and even wolves!

However, these are only averages; there are undoubtedly larger and smaller Great Danes. For example, the tallest dog ever officially measured was Zeus, a Dane who stood an incredible 44 inches at the shoulder!

Zeus, on the other hand, was rather thin, weighing just approximately 155 pounds. However, some smaller and stockier Great Danes have weighed in at over 245 pounds.

How Long Are Great Danes?

Great Danes are not only tall dogs, but they are also long, which makes them even bigger when you think about it. The length of their bodies will range between 35.5 and 43 inches, so you need a huge house for a dog like this to move comfortably and find a place to sleep unbothered.

What Is The Largest Breed Of Great Dane?

Zeus was a 44inches (3ft 8inches) tall Great Dane. He broke the record on October 4, 2011, and, despite him not being alive right now, he still holds the record for the tallest dog ever.

Zeus stood at a height of 7ft 4in (which is taller than the majority of basketball players but less than the world’s tallest man, Robert Wadlow, who stood at 8 ft 11 inches). 

Although his name and stature were daunting, Zeus was a kind family dog for the Doolag family in Otsego, Michigan. He was also a therapy dog, accompanying his owner to local hospitals.

How Tall Giant great dane

Final Words About Why Are Great Danes So Big

The answer to an animal’s size is always in its genetics and what caused such genetics to adapt in such a way. In the specific case of Great Danes, they were purposefully bred to become huge dogs.

As you might know, humans have been breeding different dogs for centuries, and the Great Dane is one of the most successful results out of this experience.

Initially, Great Danes were meant for hunting and protecting their owners, but nowadays they are simply loving dogs (although they will protect you if they sense you are in danger!).

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